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Charles Lloyd: The Sky Will Still Be There Tomorrow

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Charles Lloyd: The Sky Will Still Be There Tomorrow
For a long, grateful while now the music of Charles Lloyd has rippled out from that rarified space where the ego does not prevail. A pool of depth and wonder which culminates in one masterful artwork after another, for example Wild Man Dance (Blue Note, 2015) and 8: Kindred Spirits Live from the Lobero Theater (Blue Note, 2019).

Lloyd's eleventh Blue Note album, the double disc set  The Sky Will Still Be There Tomorrow is also his first new studio recording since the 2017 sessions which brought us the darkly shimmering Vanished Gardens (Blue Note, 2018) and the finely curated Tone Poem (Blue Note, 2021). At times these fifteen new works sound like conflict and question in their rawest forms. At times they are the sound of wisdom, reason, and comfort, but Lloyd has always had that extra tinge of humanness in his sound. It is the character of his tone. Maybe it is just that now, as the gray skies darken, the music is more reflective than forward looking as he has been since the swinging Sixties.

"Defiant Tender Warrior" starts things out on an unequivocal high and The Sky Will Still Be There Tomorrow hits all the marks from there. Whatever the hunch was that Lloyd had to ally himself with pianist Jason Moran, bassist Larry Grenadier, and drummer Brian Blade, comes to fruition immediately. The trio take it slow as Lloyd whispers, charges, rafts and rolls the piece to its quietly stunning and illuminating conclusion.

First heard on Trios: Ocean (Blue Note, 2022), "The Lonely One" gets re-vitalized here while still retaining its reflective core. "Monk's Dance" is a riotous revery, with Moran and Blade particularly having a wild time of it. The autumnal colors of "The Water Is Rising" warm the eyes and the heart. Lloyd's flute, echoes the joyful yet haunted sound of Native American song one instant and his own Pied Piper hijinks the next.

The wanderlust quartet of "The Ghost of Lady Day," "Beyond Darkness," "Sky Valley, Spirit of the Forest," and the title track may or may not be the emotional core of The Sky Will Still Be There Tomorrow but it sure as hell makes a great argument to be, pro or con. The music is lush and willful, equal measures now and then, with Grenadier especially prosaic, his ballerina notes holding the shape of the piece together. Meanwhile Moran and Blade prod, instigate, and define. Coloring each soft turn with their own spacial luminescence. Blade's cool control and reserve demand attention throughout; where some might run roughshod and others might sit out entirely, Blade burrows in, hears what is needed for the moment to make the work real, and responds from the gut. "Sky Valley, Spirit of the Forest" epitomizes that.

In its entirety, The Sky Will Still Be There Tomorrow—highlighted by Lloyd's lucid and dreamy "When the Sun Comes Up, Darkness Is Gone" and his look back to "Cape to Cairo" from All My Relations (ECM, 1995)—is, what the bards of olde would say, a kick in the ass call to arms of the life and beauty still to be experienced when minds and hearts are set free to imagine other states of being. Yes, that is what it is.

Track Listing

CD1: Defiant, Tender Warrior; The Lonely One; Monk’s Dance; The Water Is Rising; Late Bloom; Booker’s Garden; The Ghost of Lady Day; The Sky Will Still Be There Tomorrow; Beyond Darkness. CD2: Sky Valley, Spirit of the Forest; Balm In Gilead; Lift Every Voice and Sing; When the Sun Comes Up, Darkness Is Gone; Cape to Cairo; Defiant, Reprise; Homeward Dove.

Personnel

Charles Lloyd
saxophone
Larry Grenadier
bass, acoustic
Additional Instrumentation

Charles Lloyd: flute

Album information

Title: The Sky Will Still Be There Tomorrow | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Blue Note Records


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